Testing season can be incredibly stressful for everyone involved, but being prepared before the test can make “T- day” as smooth as possible and even help you boost your score. If you are taking the ACT this Saturday, here are seven last-minute test preparation tips for earning your best score.
- Get a good night’s sleep. You might have to skip the dance Friday night, but it’s a small price to pay. Study after study shows that students do better on tests when they have adequate sleep. Since sleeping in isn’t an option, you have to get those extra zzzzzs on the front end.
- Fuel up. One word: protein. Make sure you eat a protein-packed breakfast and bring a protein-rich snack with you. Again, research shows that’s the best way to concentrate during the test. Check out this post for some awesome – and easy – breakfast and snack ideas.
- Get everything ready the night before. You want the morning to go as smoothly as possible. Print out directions to the test site and make sure you know where parking is available. Pack your bag the night before with your (charged) calculator, pencils, non-perishable snack and whatever else you need. Lay out your clothes. Make sure your car is gassed up and you have parking money. Triple check your alarm. Any one of these little details can cause unnecessary stress when you least need it.
- Get there early. Nothing will throw you off your game faster than arriving late or flustered. If you’ve done all your prep the night before, that will be a huge help. But make sure that you leave your house in plenty of time for the unexpected – traffic, a closed road, a full parking lot. Arriving at the test site early allows you to take a quick bathroom break, have a snack, and do some calming breathing rather than plunging immediately into the test.
- Know your test. Hopefully you’ve done some prep work, and even taken some practice tests. Remember that the ACT is all multiple choice so you will pace yourself differently than the SAT. Also, tests have different scoring systems, but the ACT does not penalize you for guessing so make sure every question is answered.
- Watch your time. The timing and pacing on the ACT is generally considered faster than the SAT, so time is not your friend on this one. Dive right in and start answering the questions you know, because you can always go back and work through the others if you have time. And even if you are feeling pressed, ensure that you have allotted sufficient time to go back and make at least an “educated guess” on every single question.
- Stay calm and do the best you can. You know that’s all anyone asks of you. If you need some additional tips on managing test anxiety, check out this post. Calm breathing can truly be a surprisingly effective technique for powering through.
Not signed up for this Saturday’s ACT test? Then register now for the October 25 or December 13 ACT test dates. Check here for more information. And good luck!